153. Letter From the Representative at the United Nations (Lodge) to the Secretary of State1

Dear Foster: It is wonderful to know that you are back at your desk2—and I marvel at your great energy and determination. We have all missed your sage counsel and guidance.

The purpose of this is to remind you that it is still necessary for you to set a time for the meeting the President suggested last May to discuss the subject of multilateral aid under the United Nations.3 You may remember that I have talked and written to you about this several times.4

This matter has become more urgent for two reasons: [Page 400]

The Soviet Foreign Minister5 on November 22 announced to the General Assembly that the Soviet Union is prepared to participate in a United Nations Fund for the development of underdeveloped countries. I am convinced that this announcement, along with the agitation for a world economic conference, is basically a propaganda move; nevertheless, if we fail to take any action, the Soviets will win a substantial propaganda victory at no expense to them.
It is generally agreed that some substantial program of economic assistance will be needed to rebuild the Middle East and advance our prestige in that area. There are clear signs that bilateral programs would not be welcome in certain countries of that area, whereas a multilateral United Nations program with United States participation would be very well received. There is the danger that in the absence of such United Nations action Soviet bilateral programs may attempt to fill the gap. For these reasons I feel that there must be a meeting of minds—and a decision—on this subject very soon.

I suggest that the following should be present: Secretary Humphrey, Under Secretary Hoover, Assistant Secretary Wilcox, John Hollister, Clarence Randall, and Paul Hoffman, who handles this in the Second Committee here.

If such a meeting is still impossible to organize, I hope you may authorize me to commit the United States to participate in a multilateral fund under the auspices of the United Nations along the following lines:

All nations contribute in the same ratio as they now contribute to the United Nations proper;
All projects are screened and approved by the Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or some equally responsible body where United States control can be assured.
That all contributions by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. be in convertible currency and that others contribute in usable currency whenever possible;
That the United States’ contribution be earmarked out of existing appropriations for bilateral aid, thereby constituting no increased cost to the public treasury. I should imagine that the maximum dollar amount would be $40,000,000 (earmarked out of existing expenditures), and there is a strong chance that the scheme would never be agreed to at all because of the control features which are so favorable to us. In any event, it is a small effort to make to forestall the harm to us which would come from a Soviet victory in this field.

I enclose a statement which I made to the Fairless Committee last week on this subject6 and which contains the entire argument [Page 401] and analysis for this plan. I feel sure that I could win approval for it if only I had a chance to meet with these men around the table!

Faithfully yours,

Cabot L.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 340/12–456. Confidential.
  2. Secretary Dulles underwent surgery at Walter Reed Hospital, November 3, 1956. He checked out of the hospital November 18 and spent 2 weeks convalescing before resuming his duties.
  3. Not printed. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Administration Series)
  4. In a letter of July 17, Lodge referred to Eisenhower’s letter of May 24, suggesting that Dulles call a meeting for July 27 including Humphrey, Hoover, Wilcox, Hollister, William Jackson, and Clarence Randall, Chairman of the Council on Foreign Economic Policy. (Department of State, Central Files, 340/7–1756)Dulles replied on August 6 that since receiving Lodge’s letter he had been trying to arrange such a gathering, although July 27 had been impossible because he had been in South America at the time. Dulles suggested that the participants try to get together early in September after the Republican Party Convention. (Ibid.)
  5. Dmitri T. Shepilov.
  6. See supra.